Women guilty in 'toddler-fighting' video trial

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The Independent Online

Four women have pleaded guilty to ill-treatment charges in Plymouth after taunting two toddlers to fight each other on camera.

Police and social services were said to be "stunned" by the seven-minute video clip in which a two-year-old boy wearing a nappy is seen crying after he is punched in the face by a girl a year older than him.

One of the women in the room is heard to shout at him: "Don't cry... Punch her back again."

The women are heard laughing as they urge the children to keep fighting. When the boy climbs on to an armchair and tries to bury his head, the women shout at the girl to go over and punch him again. He is told "not to be a wimp or a faggot" and to hit her back.

The women were arrested after a family member found the footage and handed it to social services.

The women - who cannot be identified for legal reasons - are all members of the same family. The prosecutor at Plymouth magistrates' court said all admitted the charges, but one refused to accept culpability. She insisted it was character-building, and that she could see no harm in toughening them up.

The case was referred to Plymouth Crown Court for sentencing next month.